TEAM NEWS: Record-seeker Ibrahimovic starts for unchanged Manchester United

The Swede starts up front hoping to equal a Manchester United goals record set in 1925

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been named in Manchester United’s starting XI to play Hull City on Saturday as he aims to equal a 91-year-old club record by scoring in his first four competitive games for the club.

The 34-year-old Swede has found the net in each of his three games for the Red Devils so far, bagging one at Bournemouth and two against Southampton in the Premier League following his winner in the Community Shield win over Leicester.

And he will again lead the line for Jose Mourinho’s side at the KCOM Stadium after being named in an unchanged starting line-up for the clash with Mike Phelan’s Tigers. Another goal against Hull would make the former Paris Saint-Germain striker the first United player since Jimmy Hanson in 1925 to score in his first four matches.

Paul Pogba starts his second game for United after returning to the club from Juventus earlier this month, and Marouane Fellaini is once again handed a shirt alongside him in midfield. Chris Smalling, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford are again among the substitutes.

For Hull, caretaker boss Phelan names an unchanged side for the third successive league game in what his likely to be his club’s last fixture before the takeover by a Chinese consortium, ending a period of uncertainty at the club under the ownership of Assem and Ehab Allam.

HULL CITY: Jakupovic; Robertson, Davies, Meyler, Huddlestone, Hernandez, Snodgrass, Clucas, Livermore, Diomande, Elmohamady. Subs: Kuciak, Maguire, Maloney, Bowen, Olley, Clackstone, Hinchliffe.

MANCHESTER UNITED: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Blind, Shaw; Fellaini, Pogba; Mata, Rooney, Martial; Ibrahimovic. Subs: Romero, Smalling, Herrera, Mkhitaryan, Schneiderlin, Young, Rashford.

United have the fear factor back – Shaw

The Red Devils, who spent well over £100m during the transfer window, are a force to be reckoned with once more, according to their fit-again full-back

Luke Shaw says Manchester United have their “fear factor” back after an off-season of big spending under Jose Mourinho.

Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have arrived at Old Trafford as United aim to become title challengers again following several seasons of relative struggle under David Moyes and then Louis van Gaal.

Mourinho has overseen victories in all of his first three matches in charge and Shaw, who made his return this season from a broken leg, claimed the mood within the squad is buoyant.  

“It hasn’t been the best few years, but all of a sudden it feels really good, really positive,” he told the Guardian

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“We feel we have that fear factor back where people are thinking this team is going to be hard to beat. I’m fit, I’m happy, I still feel I have a lot more to give. I just want to push on now.”

Shaw turned down Mourinho’s Chelsea when he left Southampton in 2014, something that prompted a humorous exchange between the left-back and his new manager. 

“We’ve had a little joke about it,” he said.

“He’s a cool manager. ‘Why didn’t you come?’ he wanted to know. I just felt I had more opportunity of first-team football here.

“But now I’m with him and I’m really happy he’s here.”

'Pochettino, not Mourinho, was Manchester United's first choice'

Jermaine Jenas has claimed the club’s hierarchy were keen to poach the Argentine from Tottenham before appointing the former Chelsea manager

Mauricio Pochettino was Manchester United’s first choice for their managerial vacancy before Jose Mourinho was appointed, it has been claimed.

Mourinho was confirmed as Louis van Gaal’s replacement in July following months of intense speculation, but former Spurs player Jermaine Jenas insists it was Pochettino who the United hierarchy most coveted.

“If Pochettino would’ve been available he was Manchester United’s first choice, 100 per cent,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I think they would’ve taken him over Mourinho all day long.”

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Tottenham face a battle to replicate last season’s exploits, which saw a late-season collapse surrender second place to rivals Arsenal, but Jenas is confident Pochettino is the man to bring success to White Hart Lane.

He added: “The beauty with Pochettino is that Spurs are up to speed already. The players that are there have gone into training on the first day of pre-season and know exactly what he demands.”

'Drawing Manchester United would have been embarrassing'

The Dundalk manager is pleased that his side avoided the Premier League giants in the Europa League

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny is relieved that the League of Ireland champions were not drawn against Manchester United in the Uefa Europa League, believing that the clash would have been an embarassment.

The Lilywhites became only the second Irish club to reach the group stage of the Europa League, but Kenny feels a so-called glamour tie with the Premier League giants would have seen more fans supporting United than Dundalk in the home fixture.

“I know people were wondering about drawing Manchester United but that’s not a game I would have particularly wanted personally,” Kenny told the Irish Examiner.

“I think I would have been embarrassed playing in Lansdowne Road with more people there supporting an English team than ourselves. 

“I would have found that difficult to comprehend.”

Dundalk will face Zenit St Petersburg, AZ Alkmaar and Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv in the group stage, with their home matches held at Tallaght Stadium. Having seen so many fans come out to support the Lilywhites during their Uefa Champions League campaign, Kenny is hopeful that his side can continue to attract bumper crowds.

“These are great footballing ties against great football clubs,” the 44-year-old said.

“I know that the recent matches against BATE Borisov and Legia Warsaw have really captured the imagination of people right throughout the country.

“Zenit are a big club in Russia and they have lots of international players, lots of Brazilian players. AZ recently won the Eredivisie, while Maccabi Tel Aviv regularly win the league title in Israel.

“I think we have shown in the games against BATE and Legia Warsaw – two teams that have been in the group stages of European competition regularly – that if we play to our full potential we are equals.”


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